Darrin Lot remembered

My family referred to any property purchased by the names of the previous owners. We lived on the Potter Farm, visited the Maynard place, and picnicked on the Darrin Lot. The Darrin Lot was 119 acres of woods of northern pine, maple, oak and beech with a mountain stream. According to my dad, “there was a house there years and years ago but it is all gone now.”
Grandpa and a neighboring farmer each pitched in $100 to buy the Darrin Lot in 1929 as a woods lot. My dad and his twin brother were born a year later. Through the years grandpa, my dad and uncle, harvested the trees on the Darrin Lot for lumber, fireplace wood and fence posts. “We cut and sold a lot of’em,” Dad said.
Dad and his twin brother grew up hunting deer in the thickly forested wood lot, catching fish in the clear stream and picnicking in the woods. They loved the silent world of the deep woods.
As young fathers, they drove their families for Sunday picnics in the deep grove of deep pines. We parked in the shade of the leafy trees and bushes overhanging the dusty, gravel road that split the property. The picnic spot was well hidden behind those bushes. Time and again I would think I had spottedthe picnic grounds only to have Dad drive on. It was easier to spot after my uncle hammered a few boards together on top of an old stump making a rough table to hold all the picnic fixings: Mom’s potato salad, Aunt Erma’s baked beans and Aunt Calysta’s maple syrup frosted cake so sweet it made my teeth ache. For years afterwards spotting that table meant the welcome end of a dusty, choking drive to the Darrin lot and the beginning of the Sunday picnic feast.
Stuffed with deviled eggs and hot dogs, we spent Sunday afternoons playing in the cool forest carpeted with brown leaves and pine needles. When the five boy cousins built a secret fort of tree limbs they gathered from the forest floor, the four, jealous, girl cousins whined until the daddies began gathering up limbs for their fort. With the efficiency and ease of woodsmen, the men silently walked over to a leafy bush near the picnic table and put together four walls of tree limbs. For years afterwards, the two separate, slowly decaying stacks of limbs outlined play areas for the boys and the girls.
By the time I took my own boys to the Darrin Lot, the forts had disappeared and the picnic table was soft with moss and decay. I wasn’t with my sons the day my husband and dad made a “Boys Only” venture to the Darrin Lot’s cool mountain stream flowing over water worn rocks.
They spent the day swimming in their white Fruit of the Looms, having their leg hairs nibbled by minnows and trying to catch real fish using earthworms on a fishhook made from a safety pin, tied to a piece of white string hanging from tree branch. They returned, tired, dirty, sunburned and excited about their afternoon in the deep woods forging memories to last a lifetime.
A few years ago, heirs of the two men decided to end decades of shared ownership and sold the 119 acres. The name ceased to exist, only the memories of the Darrin Lot remain.